Jūshirō couldn't help but cry as he sat on the couch, being berated by Shunsui while Nanao and Byakuya stood and watched. He hated the harsh words his best friend was throwing at them, and though he knew he had been wrong to do what he had with Starrk, he couldn't understand why Shunsui was being so cruel to him.
"Maybe you should calm down, Shunsui," Nanao said, stepping in between her lover and her friend. She knew that he had said his piece and Jūshirō needed a calm talk; not yells and abuse. "Let Byakuya and I talk to him. Go get a drink and let us handle this."
Shunsui growled. "No. He's my best friend, so I'll handle this."
"You're not helping," Nanao said. "You're making things worse. He knows he did something wrong and this doesn't concern you; it's about Jūshirō and Byakuya. They are the ones who need to be talking."
Shunsui opened his mouth to disagree, but he soon found himself being pulled away in the kitchen by his girlfriend, leaving Byakuya and Jūshirō alone.
Jūshirō looked over at his boyfriend, noticing the sad expression on the younger's face. He hiccupped as he got to his feet, staggering over to the other male. He fell into the raven, burying his face in Byakuya's chest.
"...Please..." Jūshirō sobbed, wrapping his arms around his partner and holding on tight. "...Please... I-I'm sorry..."
Byakuya sighed but made no move to return the embrace. "Sorry doesn't work for things like this. ...You should have told me..."
"I'm sorry," Jūshirō repeated over and over like a mantra. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry..."
"Jūshirō." Byakuya pushed the frail man away so that he could look into the other's eyes. "You really hurt me."
"I'm sorry..." Jūshirō cried harder.
"Stop saying sorry, Jūshirō." Byakuya's voice was cold, colder than it had been in a while. "Nothing you can do will fix what you've done. I'm glad you acknowledge you messed up, but you don't have to worry; Starrk can have you all to himself. I'm finished with you. I can't put my trust in you again."
Jūshirō dropped to his knees, falling silent. His eyes were wide but the tears kept coming. He didn't move when Byakuya walked into the kitchen towards the other two, almost as if he wasn't registering the world around him.
"I want to leave," Byakuya growled at Shunsui and Nanao. "Take me back to your home so I can get my car. I'm done here."
Nanao bit her lip as she looked between the three males. Shunsui was tense and angry, his grip on the glass cup he had in his hand threatening to break it. Byakuya showed no emotion, but she could tell from his harsh tone of voice that he was upset. And Jūshirō... was lying on the ground, unmoving.
"Shunsui, you take him back," Nanao instructed, placing a gentle hand on her partner's shoulder. "I'll stay here with Jūshirō-san."
Without a word, Shunsui stood up and moved towards the front door. He took one look at Jūshirō who was lying in front of him and then stepped over the smaller male, leaving the apartment in silence.
Byakuya followed and ignored his boyfriend completely. Nanao moved quietly to Jūshirō's side and placed her hand on his shoulder, looking down at his face. The male's eyes were scrunched shut, tears leaking past them as he sobbed.
"Jūshirō-san?" Nanao's voice was soft as she spoke, trying to bring comfort to the distressed man. She hooked an arm underneath his shoulder and lifted him to his feet, leading him towards the couch. She laid him down on the soft material and ran a hand through the white hair, not knowing how to help. "Jūshirō-san, you need to understand that they were in the right to act as they had; you've really hurt them both."
"I didn't mean to..." Jūshirō sobbed, not acknowledging the hand that was running gentle circles along his back. "...I... I was in so much pain... I wanted it to stop..."
"You should have spoken to Byakuya, Jūshirō-san... He would have understood; he wouldn't have hurt you. He'd have talked it out with you."
"No, he wouldn't..." Jūshirō whispered. "He'd have hated me... Like he does now..."
"He doesn't hate you," Nanao whispered back. "He's... upset. As anyone rightfully would be. ...He really loved you, Jūshirō-san."
"You spoke in past tense," Ukitake pointed out. "You admitted it yourself; he doesn't love me any longer."
"I don't think that's true."
"Please..." Jūshirō whimpered. "...Please, just leave me alone..."
"..." Nanao sighed before she stood up. "...I'll bring Tōshirō back to my apartment. I know you just want to be left alone."
Jūshirō didn't reply, nor did he react when Nanao hugged him goodbye. He just lay on the couch, crying.
Nanao didn't know what to think as she waited out the front for Tōshirō to come home. When he did, she quickly explained the circumstances and escorted him back to her home.
Back with Jushiro
Ukitake lay on the couch, wanting nothing more than to die. He didn't know what to do; he had just lost his most important people, Tōshirō would hate him when he found out about what he had done, and Starrk probably wouldn't accept him back into his life again like he had before.
Grabbing the phone from his pocket, he took his chances and dialled Starrk. He sobbed when the brunet answered the phone, begging for him to come over. He was just relieved to hear that Starrk was making his way over now.
At Shunsui's apartment~~
"I can't believe you both!" Nanao exclaimed, throwing the TV guide at Byakuya and Shunsui. "How can you both just cut him out of your lives like this?! Can't you see he's suffering?!"
"I don't want him in my life while he makes stupid decisions such as this." Shunsui shrugged, raising his sake bottle to his lips.
"I cannot trust him anymore..." Byakuya muttered. "How do I know he's not cheating on me again right now?"
Nanao sighed. "Listen to me. Byakuya, you of all people should understand what it's like to feel lost. He needs us to support him; not judge him."
"No." Both males said in unison.
Nanao sighed and threw her hands up in defeat. "Whatever. I'll be in the guest room with Tōshirō. Don't talk to me unless you've changed your minds."
Nanao left the two males and moved towards the hallway. She knocked on the bedroom door before she entered, closing it quietly behind her. She smiled at the boy lying on the bed, texting with the phone in his hands.
"Who are you talking to?" Nanao asked, sitting on the bed beside Tōshirō.
"Rangiku." Tōshirō offered a small smile back. "She said she can come and get me if I am too much trouble here with you."
"That's very kind of her, but you can make the decision," Nanao offered. "I'm just worried about you being back with your brother. He's very... unwell at the moment. You may have noticed."
Tōshirō's face fell. "...I know... He seems so happy when I come home from school, but... unless Byakuya-kun is over, he's always so sad the later it gets..."
"I know. That's the problem. He probably won't tell you this himself, but he's been cheating on Byakuya. The reason he's so happy? He's been making love with the person he's cheating with. He must think about what he's doing later in the day when everything's worn off."
"...Oh..." Tōshirō sighed. "...Juu-nii can't take care of himself..."
"He can't. I'm going back over there tonight after he has time to calm down. I think it will be best for you to stay with Rangiku for a few days, okay?"
Tōshirō nodded. "I will. Thank you for trying to help my brother. Shunsui doesn't seem too happy with him lately."
"Yeah..." Nanao shook her head. "...He's being stubborn."
The two talked for a few more minutes before Nanao left to go and make dinner. Tōshirō sat and thought about things for a while, but he just didn't know what to do; Jūshirō was becoming harder and harder to take care of, almost to the point where Tōshirō just couldn't bear to be around him.
The boy could only hope that Jūshirō would get better soon.